Picking on the smart Black kid at the front of the class may be more harmful to his future than once thought, a new study suggests.
According to a new report, bullying takes a higher toll on high achieving Black and Latino students than their white counterparts.
"When minorities don't fit stereotypes that are created by society, they experience more bullying," study author Lisa Williams said, explaining how the perception that Black and Latino students don’t do well in school may be the reason high achievers are bullied more often.
Among all students participating in the study, of all races, those who were bullied in the 10th grade experienced a drop in 12th grade scores when compared with their pre-bullying 9th-grade scores.
However, the drop in scores was largest for high-scoring Black and Latino students. An African-American student with a 3.5 GPA in 9th grade who was bullied lost, on average, 0.3 GPA points by 12th grade. For a white student with a 3.5 GPA, that same number was only 0.03 points.
National dialogue surrounding bullying has increased in recent years as victims of bullying report increased intensity of harassment both at school and on the Internet.
Earlier this year, the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights took action on the issue by announcing that some student misconduct that falls under a school's anti-bullying policy can potentially trigger responsibilities under one or more of the federal anti-discrimination laws; heightening the severity of punishment for youth.
The findings of the study were presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in Las Vegas.